Newspapers, it has been said, represent instant history. What the interpretation stresses ~ the contemporaneity or the shelf life ~ is a no-brainer though, given that they have to pass muster today simply to be able to roll on and, maybe, find patient researchers arrayed before them at some afterglow time in the future.
And when the archives of tomorrow will be examined to learn how sport dealt with Covid-19, well might posterity wonder how we came to put the sort of spin we did on learning to live with the virus ~ an idea often propounded like a glib online spiel ~ that so unapologetically threatened human lives.
Any further progress from this point will, of course, be contingent upon players being looked upon as men and women whose lives matter. Since they actually matter as much as any others, it is vital that we acknowledge just how candle-in-wind performers’ existence on the professional circuit has become simply because of organisers’ and administrators’ bullheaded determination to press ahead with the programme of so many competitions in the face of the relentless surge of the virus, come what may. Sport doesn’t want to stop and stare lest another billion ~ or trillion ~ dollars should be lost to the pandemic.
In West Asia, the Indian Premier League is under renewed attack with a Delhi Capital’s staff member having to be banished to isolation barely days after Chennai Super Kings’ collective and chilling brush with the virus. The US Open, in New York, had a French player in a Covid-19 crisis which resulted in another one being forced into what Flushing Meadows called a bubble within the bubble following contact-tracing.
The stricter cordon within the putatively iron-clad security system eventually got the better of Kristina Mladenovic, who, finding the conditions overwhelmingly difficult, suffered a singles meltdown and then had a quarantine notice handed to her by public health officials in the county where her hotel was. That put her out of the show, and she was one half of the top-seeded women’s doubles team in the tournament. Rarely, if ever, has a Grand Slam seemed such a poor show as this one. Tokyo Olympic high-ups have gone on record as saying that vaccine or no vaccine, they will stage the quadrennial event next year all right.
An Olympic delayed on account of a worldwide catastrophe cannot be allowed to be an Olympic abandoned, after all. And it will not be lost on our progeny that whatever risk we run today is in sport’s pursuit of money, which outweighs concern about humans’ survival in a horrifying time. It could be a measure and symptom of the world of the future we are shaping today, but chances are we shall be looked upon as a lot that thought fooling around with people’s lives was, well, a sport